The director general of health finishes on Friday. In one of his last acts, he ordered 14 councils to reintroduce fluoride to their water supplies, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in The Bulletin.
Bloomfield wraps up final press conference with an “over and out”
Capping off a run of 307 Covid press conferences, outgoing director general of health, Ashley Bloomfield was clapped out of his last ever Covid update yesterday by Ministry of Health staff. Diana Sarfati will step in to fill the role temporarily until a permanent appointment is made. His final day is Friday but unless something terrible happens between now and then, that was his last appearance at what once generated enough momentum as appointment viewing to get its own IMDb page.
Bloomfield’s parting shot to councils
Those days feel like a very long time ago but it was only two years and exactly 6 months ago, on January 28, 2020, that Bloomfield was first mentioned in the Bulletin in relation to Covid. Then-editor Alex Braae apologised for doing another lead story “on the coronavirus” that day. Bloomfield’s parting gift was an order to 14 councils to fluoridate their water. Speaking to RNZ’s Morning Report this morning former South Taranaki district council mayor, Ross Dunlop said it vindicated the council’s decision to take anti-fluoride campaigners to the Supreme Court where it won a landmark case to add fluoride to the water supply in Patea and Waverley.
Worst case scenario unlikely to happen
As someone observed, at least Bloomfield got to deliver a semblance of good news today. A previously modelled “worst case scenario” of 20,000 Covid cases per day is unlikely to come to pass. Cases are trending downwards which is also being seen in wastewater results and test positivity rates in people being admitted to hospital in the week to July 24. “Pleasingly”, something of a Bloomfieldism, the case rate is declining among the over 65s, who have had the highest case rates in this outbreak.
Compelling evidence that Wuhan market was at centre of Covid outbreak
Two peer reviewed studies released on Tuesday provide strong evidence that the Huanan seafood and wildlife market in Wuhan, China was the epicentre of the outbreak. One of the studies shows that the earliest known cases were clustered around that market and the other uses genetic information to track the timing of the outbreak. It suggests that the virus was present in live mammals sold at the market and that two variants were introduced into humans in November or early December 2019. As an awfully circular reminder that we’re still very much in a pandemic, Chinese officials shut down some businesses and public transport, and told 1 million residents in Wuhan to stay in their homes yesterday after discovering four cases of Covid.